I. THE PRINCIPAL AIMS OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE.

To produce food of high nutritional quality in sufficient quantity.

To work with natural systems rather than seeking to dominate them.

To encourage and enhance biological cycles within the farming system, involving micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals.

To maintain and increase long-term fertility of the soils.

To use as far as possible renewable resources in locally organised agricultural systems.

To work as much as possible within a closed system with regard to organic matter and nutrient elements.

To give all livestock conditions of life that allow them to perform all aspects of their innate behaviour.

To avoid all forms of pollution that may result from agricultural techniques.

To maintain the generic diversity of the agricultural system and its surroundings, including the safe working environment.

To allow agricultural producers an adequate return and satisfaction from their work including a safe working environment.

To consider the wider social and ecological impact of the farming system.

In order to attain these objectives the organic agricultural movement has adopted certain techniques that respect natural ecological balances, and make it possible to avoid such products (Synthetic fertilisers, pesticides etc.) and such methods (forcing plant and animal growth, industrial methods of livestock management, etc.) which are contrary to the principal aims.

Where compromise is inevitable due to the ecological or the economic conditions in which we live, then the limits must be clearly defined. This document seeks to clarify which agricultural techniques are approved in organic agriculture, which are excluded and which may in certain cases be tolerated.

 

II. conditions in which these standards apply.

These standards provide a framework within which the national organisations have to develop standards of their own. They may not be used on their own.

 

1. CONVERSION TO ORGANIC AGRICULTURE.

Conversion means a process of developing a viable and sustainable agro-eco-system over a period of time aimed at conversion of the entire holding to meet the full standard requirements within a period which should be fixed by every certification organisation.

If the farm is not converted all at once it should be done on a field by field basis, whereby full standards are followed from the start of conversion on the relevant fields. The area of land being managed to the full standards will therefore progressively increase.

It is recommended that a conversion plan is made and assessed annually by the inspectorate and updated if necessary.

 

 

A conversion plan should include proposals for:

a fertility-building rotation,

a fodder plan when applicable,

proper manure management when applicable,

a build-up of environmental conditions to reduce the occurrence of pests and diseases.

In general, the time taken for the conversion should not exceed one complete rotation. With livestock farms conversion should take place more quickly. In cases of particular difficulty certain exception to the above rule may be allowed.

Such exceptions may be approved by certification organisations providing that:

a time limit is set for the exception,

converted areas are not switched back and forth between organic and non-organic sections,

manure from non-converted animal holdings is treated as a bought-in manure to the organic farming section.

Products from the non-converted part of the farm and from areas under exceptions must not be sold as organic.

In the case of parallel production (presence of the same crop in an organic and an in-conversion or a non-organic section of the same farm) the two sections must be clearly separated and the products from the different sections must be clearly distinguishable (appearance, colour, variety or the like).

Spraying equipment used for non-permitted pesticides must be thoroughly cleaned and flushed before spraying permitted substances on approved areas. Separate spraying equipment is recommended.

 

2. LENGTH OF CONVERSION PERIOD.

Produce may only be sold as "produce of organic agriculture" when the full standards have been met for two years(products from 3rd harvest).

This period may be reduced to one year in the case of holdings where, during the years immediately preceding conversion, techniques closely allied to those of organic agriculture have been employed. In such cases applicants must supply details of techniques and products used. The certification organisations will then decide whether it is appropriate to reduce the period of conversion to one year.

The conversion period may also be extended by the certification organisation, with reference to the presence of residues of harmful substances.

Certification organisations may allow plant products to be sold as "produce of organic agriculture in process of conversion" or a similar description. When the full standard requirements have been met during the growing season of the crop in question.

For animal products this description must only be used when the veterinary and welfare standards are fully respected, and the full standard feed requirements will be achieved within the conversion period (see animal husbandry section for details).

Conversion labels should be clearly distinguishable from the full organic label.

 

III CROP PRODUCTION.

 

1. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS.

When agricultural holdings are situated near important sources of pollution, certification organisations must check the food and soil quality by residue analysis.

Recommendations of possible ways to reduce the pollution should be made. Special consideration must be given to the water used for irrigation. All possible measures must be taken to prevent accidental contamination form outside the farm (by wind drift etc.)

If despite these precautions a product is contaminated, it may not be certified as organic. Contamination residues are not allowed in products form organic agriculture unless they are results of general environmental pollution.

In glass houses energy saving heating systems are recommended.

 

2. CHOICE OF CROPS AND VARIETIES.

Species and varieties cultivated must be, as far as possible, adapted to the soil and climatic conditions and resistant to pest and disease.

Seeds and brought-in plant material must be from approved organic farms when available. As soon as possible and latest before 1994 brought-in plant material must in all cases be from an approved organic production system. New organisations in regions, where organic agriculture is in the early stages of its development, may set a time limit by when brought-in plant material must be from approved organic production systems.

In the choice of varieties the maintenance of genetic diversity should be taken into consideration (e.g. by variety mixing).

The use of species and varieties obtained by genetic engineering may only be allowed by certification organisations, if the total ecological impact is in line with the aims of organic agriculture.

Seed treatments may be made only with products listed as "allowed products" (Appendix 1 or 2). Seeds treated otherwise can be allowed by the certification organisation when untreated seeds are not available.

 

3. ROTATIONS.

Rotations must be as varied as possible and should include legumes or temporary pastures which include legumes, green manure's and deep-rooting plants.

Specific rotations including legumes, may be insisted upon by the certification organisation on farms without animal husbandry.

 

4. MANURIAL POLICY.

The manurial programme must aim at maintaining or increasing the fertility of the soil and its biological activity.

Sufficient quantities of organic material must be returned to the soil to increase or at least maintain its humus content on a long term basis.

Organic material produced on organic farms must form the basis of the manurial programme.

Burning of straw is prohibited. Exceptions are be made by the certification organisation.

 

Mineral fertilisers should be regarded as supplements to, and replacement for, nutrient recycling.

Mineral fertilisers should preferably be applied in their natural form and not rendered more soluble by chemical treatment.

However, mineral potassium with a low chlorine content, magnesium fertilisers and trace elements may be used under the conditions mentioned in Appendix 1.

Use of slag and rock phosphate must not lead to heavy-metal accumulation in the soil. If permitted by the certification organisation specific recommendations must be given as to their use.

Soil PH-values that are appropriate to the soil type and the crops cultivated should be maintained, if necessary by using calcarous amendments.

Application of nitrogen must be in an organic form. Chilean nitrate and all synthetic nitrogenous fertilisers including urea are excluded.

All organic and mineral fertilisers, and particularly those rich in nitrogen (e.g. dried blood, slurry), should be applied in such a way as to have no adverse effect on the quantity of crops (nutritive quality, taste, keeping quality and plant quality resistance) and environment.

Certification organisations must make recommendations or restrictions on nitrate levels in products.

Bought-in material (including potting compost) must have been approved by the certification organisation (positive list).

When using human faeces steps must be taken to prevent the spreading of pests, parasites and other infectious agents e.g. by high temperature composting or not spreading on vegetation for human consumption.

A list of permitted organic and mineral fertilizers is given in Appendix 1.

Certification organisations must specify a maximum stocking rate taking into consideration the ecological constraints of land use, soil and climatic conditions.

The total amount of manure added, averaged over the rotation, must not exceed the quantity which could be produced on the farm, if it were a self-sufficient livestock holding. Exemptions can be made by the certification organisations for isolated intensive crops where an extra need for nutrients and soil organic matter can be proven.

Certification organisations must regulate the amount of brought-in manure so that within each farming unit it is gradually reduced to a level of nitrogen self-sufficiency adapted to regional conditions.

Management and handling of manure and compost must minimise nutrient losses.

 

5. PEST MANAGEMENT.

Organic husbandry must be carried out in a way that losses from parasites are of little or no economic importance (varieties well-adapted to the environment, a balanced manurial programme, fertile soils of high biological activity, correct rotations, companion planting, green manure's etc.)

The natural enemies of pests should be protected and encouraged through provision of conditions favourable to them (hedges, nesting sites, etc.)

All synthetic pesticides are excluded. In cases of need, recourse may be made to the products listed in Appendix 2.

Thermic sterilisation of soil is allowed.

 

6. WEED MANAGEMENT.

Weeds are controlled by a number of preventive cultural techniques limiting their development (e.g. suitable rotations, green manure's, a balanced manurial programme, early seedbed preparations and pre drilling, mulching etc.) and by mechanical cultivations.

Physical (incl. thermic) methods of weeding are permitted. All synthetic herbicides are excluded.

 

7. GROWING REGULATIONS.

All synthetic growth regulators, cosmetics, etc. are excluded.